Despite a month-long break since the last race things were straight back to normal today as BANKIA Aspar rider Nico Terol resumed business as the man to beat in the Grand Prix of Portugal. The Spaniard took control of both today’s sessions from the start, gradually improving his best lap time to leave the rest of the field trailing in his wake. Cortese, Zarco and Faubel were distant spectators and have work to do to close the gap in tomorrow’s qualifying session.
In the end Terol was the only rider capable of breaking the 1’47 barrier, maintaining a pace in the 1’46s for his final four laps, to leave Cortese 0.7 seconds adrift. His main weapon seems to be the final sector, where he is pulling four tenths on the rest of the field. Nico remains cautious, however, and knows that his team-mate Héctor Faubel will be looking to close the gap tomorrow. The 2007 championship runner-up is still re-adapting to the category after dropping down from Moto2 and after making the wrong decision today regarding gear ratio set-up he is confident of making big strides tomorrow. BANKIA Aspar’s youngest team member Adrián Martín was able to follow Faubel for a few laps at the end of the session and that allowed him to move up to tenth on the time sheets with improved hopes for tomorrow’s grid shootout.
1st Nico Terol 1.46.385 (34 laps):
“It is only the first day but I am really satisfied because I was able to set a strong pace in both sessions. My feeling with the bike was unbelievable and luckily the rainy forecasts were wrong so we were able to work well. The track was a little damp so it was hard to find our references out there but in the end I was able to get into the 46s, which is quite a good pace for day one. My rivals are a little behind at the moment but I have to concentrate on my job because everything will be closer tomorrow. I feel in good form and I am trying to make the most of it but I can’t afford to take my eyes off the ball because I’m sure Héctor, Cortese or Zarco will be closing the gap tomorrow.”
4th Héctor Faubel 1.47.496 (33 laps):
“Today we were able to confirm some of the things we discovered with the bike in the test at Cheste. It has improved a little although we made a mistake with the gearbox setting today, which was too short with the tailwind and would have been better a bit longer. I think that alone will gain us half a second. We also went the wrong way with the chassis but even so we are still fourth. Today was the day to try these things but we know what we need tomorrow. Nico is riding really strong but at the moment nobody has put him under pressure so hopefully we can do that tomorrow and make it more fun.”
10th Adrián Martín 1.48.532 (27 laps):
“I decided to follow my team-mate Héctor towards the end of the session and I felt pretty comfortable to be honest, especially in the first half of the track. We ran into a bit of traffic but I was still able to improve my lap times in his slipstream and I felt good on the bike for a few laps. After that I did a lap on my own and I still felt comfortable. We played around with the geometry of the bike last week at Valencia to try and get it better under hard braking and it seems to have worked.”
Source: Aspar Media
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